Some tips for big game hunters
By Hookemharry

Posted: November 7, 2001

Don’t hit the panic button – but there are only about two weeks left in the general big game season for deer and elk.

With that in mind, this might be good time to send some hunting tips your way.

If you already know these things, that’s a plus on your side. But some hunters may not. And even if you do know them, it’s always good to refresh our memories.

Experts say that a deer or elk completely trusts its nose. In fact, if you stand motionless a deer will not see you, no matter how close you are. Because they use their nose to detect possible on-coming danger always hunt upwind toward where you feel the deer or elk will be.

Being quiet is also important when you are hunting. The wet October we had in Western Montana was a definite advantage to hunters. The less noise you make when stalking, the better your results are likely to be.

When it comes to walking, keep your pace slow. Arlyn Lemer, a successful elk hunter over the years, always tells me to slow down when I am walking in the woods. “You don’t have to be the first one up the hill,” Lemer is fond of saying. He contends that if you walk slowly and observe, you will have a better chance of seeing your game before the game sees you.

Be aware of the landscape around you. Maybe something looks out of place, or you might notice a flicker of movement. Those are the signals to your eye to pull out your binoculars and study that spot closer. What you see may just be a deer or elk.

Study the terrain and look for heavily-used game trails. Some successful hunters try to detect any side trails off the main trail that the deer or elk might have taken because of hunting pressure since opening day.

If you know the area you are hunting in well and are confident that the game will eventually come down a trail to a specific area, then sit and wait. Most hunters don’t have the patience for this but it has proven to be very effective. If you have the patience and choose this form of hunting, you might want to look into scents and odor killing sprays to help you blend in.

If you’re an elk hunter, pack along a cow call, but use it sparingly. Often, you can call in an elk with these cow sounds, even during rifle season. But if you call too much, you’ll tell the elk you’re a hunter, not another elk.


Travel Tips for Hunters

Since the September 11 tragedy I have been asked by a number of hunters about transporting their guns when flying.

Cindi Kurczewski, a Delta Airlines spokesperson, says that the regulations with a firearm have not changed, but she recommends checking with the airline you wish to use for possible changes in regulations before booking a flight.

Freezeout Lake is starting to get more snow geese migrating in. The latest report out of this popular waterfowl hunting spot near Fairfield claims that there are 30,000-40,000 snows down.

As you might expect, because of Montana’s ongoing drought, the water levels are low. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks does a good job of updating the conditions this time of the year. The phone number to call for the most current report is 406-467-2646.